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Coping with contractions

Discussion in 'Beginner Freediving Q&A' started by loady20tl, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. loady20tl

    loady20tl New Member

    Local Time:
    11:04 AM
    Hi all,

    I'm just starting off in the world of freediving and my progress to date has been pretty good with regard to times for dry static. I set a PB the other day of 4.03 which is great for me.

    During the hold the contractions in my diapragm started at precisely 1.40, a bit earlier than I was hoping, and continued for the rest of the hold, not changing in frequency or intensity.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how my mind and body will learn to cope with the contractions – given plenty of practice will they eventually stop, will they start later during a hold, or will I simply become more accustomed to coping with them?

    I'm sure it's different for everybody but I'd love to hear about any advice or experiences other beginners are have, or have had?

    Please check out my blog too, address below. I'd welcome comments.


  2. joshmeyer

    joshmeyer New Member

    Local Time:
    11:04 AM
    a bit ot, but would you mind changing the font of your blog? it's really hard to read those bold letters and i'd really like to follow your blog as i'm beginning to take apnea more and more serious and gladly learn from other beginner's experiences.

    thank you^^
  3. hteas

    hteas Well-Known Member

    Local Time:
    2:04 AM
    it's a common topic, and a lot has been written here on it.
    Try the search button as a good starting place.
  4. loady20tl

    loady20tl New Member

    Local Time:
    11:04 AM
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Joshmeyer - I'll change the font, I agree

    hteas - thanks for the advice, I'll try searching a bit harder
  5. Filto

    Filto New Member

    Local Time:
    11:04 AM
    I get to a point when I feel a very strong urge to breathe. I've heard that you can push through this and things will ease again. I always and every time feel that if I continue I'm gonna pee myself though so I stop even though I probably could force through the pain. Whats this all about? :) I don't get much contractions at all though. Maybe abit of topic, sorry
  6. azapa

    azapa 51% freediver 49% spearo

    Local Time:
    7:04 AM
    as you dive more it becomes easier to ignore contractions. There are two halves to this coin:
    - through training and adaptation the contractions will come later (or even earlier, to your advantage, if you prefer, though techniques like no warm up dives)
    - the pain you feel in a dive, the thing that makes you go up, like contractions, become easier to forget. Through practice ('oh, those same old contraction things, I'll just keep swimming as usual) and easier to control (singing a song in your head, thinking happy thoughts)

    the big trick towards the end of discovery in apnea is to know what signals to really listen to and how to attend them, that is very personal and only is sorted out through hours of practice (and unfortunately, some trial and error, when good buddies are a must). Even after that, there is still so much to learn.
    abdessalam likes this.
  7. trux

    trux ~~~~~

    Local Time:
    12:04 PM
    Azapa told it perfectly, I'd just add that another thing that can help you coping with contractions is changing your view on them. Stop seeing them as your enemy, but consider them your friends! Contractions are not only a signal that you are entering into the struggle phase, but usually they are also associated with the progressing Diving Response, preserving oxygen. But most importantly, they protect you from a blackout - first by increasing the PAO2 (partial alveolar pressure of oxygen), hence improving the oxygenating of your blood with the oxygen still remaining in the lungs, and then by increasing the blood pressure, hence also the PaO2 (partial arterial pressure), thus increasing the gradient between blood and tissue, and therefore better oxygenating the brain with the little oxygen available. So if you stop looking at the contractions as a harrassment or a threat, but instead imagine each contraction as a big kick of a pump shooting some additional oxygen into you brain, you will cope with them much easier psychologically.
    abdessalam likes this.
  8. loady20tl

    loady20tl New Member

    Local Time:
    11:04 AM
    Thanks Azapa and Trux - that's exactly the sort of advice I was going for! It's great to hear from experienced members like yourselves who have been through the early stages of learning in this amazing sport.

    It, for me at least, is certainly a case of getting my head around what are the signals to ignore, which to embrace and which to act on.

    Filito - It would be good to keep in contact about your progress, and see if we can learn from each other's experiences (or mistakes!).

    Please check out my blog, address below, and let me know what you think.


    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
    abdessalam likes this.
  9. Grace

    Grace New Member

    Local Time:
    11:04 AM
    Hi Tom,

    I'm about 6 months in to my freediving obsession and have been blogging throughout (mainly because I started freediving to raise money for the MS Society).

    You've already had some great advice from freedivers far more experienced than me but if you're interested, here's a post from a time when I was struggling to get my head around static: 100 ft Freedive Challenge for the MS Society: Pool Training and the Haenyeo. My PB at the time was 4min; I'm at 4:45 now.

    You'll also find a video of Ulf Dextegen doing a 8:30 static, and the best part is that he's included information about how he feels/what he's doing at each stage of the breath-hold - fascinating.
  10. eNeRGy

    eNeRGy Active Member

    Local Time:
    7:04 PM
    Trux: Thanks for that post. I always viewed contractions as helpful. But it was more of the thought that 'ok, my body is telling me where I am with my breath hold. Thanks body' than 'so this is how it's helping me'. Now I know what they're actually doing!

    Grace: Did you ever dive with the 해녀 (Haenyo)? I live in Korea and would love to go do some diving with them. Because I live here, I'm a freediver, and they are the worlds oldest freedivers I did quite a bit of research on them as well. Super interesting. Not only how they dive, but how them being only women really affected the lives on Jeju island (much more matriarchal than on mainland Korea b/c the women were bringing home the 'bacon').
  11. apfire26

    apfire26 New Member

    Local Time:
    6:04 AM
    Hey loady20, once your contractions start, how often and intense are they? I noticed you said they don't increase in frequency or intensity. That, to me, seems like a good thing..unless of course they are bad from the start. Now with practice mine usually start between 2.00 and 2.30, occasionally a little earlier or even later. Over time though mine will get severe being every second or more and very intense.